Most Underrated Films of the Decade : 2010

Photo Credit: IMDb

For the next five weeks, on Mondays and Wednesdays, Michael will be looking back at the most underrated films of the last decade. 

Every January, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveils their nominations for what are said to be the best movies released in the previous calendar year.

Now, this may just be my opinion, but every single year it seems like the Academy’s choices grow safer, duller and become increasingly more disposable. Meanwhile, the majority of the most complex and compelling films go completely unheralded and remain largely unmentioned. This is especially true regarding many of the 'Best of' lists that film critics delight in cobbling together at the end of every December.

The following is a different kind of list. It is not necessarily a 'Best of' list, although many of what I consider to be each year's best films do appear here. Instead, I present to you, year by year, starting in 2010, a list of what I consider to be the most underrated films of the last decade.


Red White & Blue 

Directed and written by Simon Rumley and starring Amanda Fuller, Marc Senter, and Noah Taylor

In Austin, Texas, an emotionally empty young woman has unprotected sex with as many people as she can, hell-bent on absolute self-destruction, until she is befriended by an ex-Iraq war veteran with a sociopathic streak. 

I should start out by issuing the strongest of strong warnings. This movie is harsh. It may, in fact, be the single harshest film I've ever seen. I do not mention this lightly. Red White & Blue is challenging and difficult, and yet it is also deeply rewarding. Scene after scene of brilliant character work is combined with a raw D.I.Y. filmmaking style and together they bring a gritty realism to this tale of misery and vengeance. All three lead actors turn in astonishing performances, but Amanda Fuller is the undeniable standout. She plays one of the most damaged and angry characters ever put on film and yet fully delivers on moments of heartbreaking tenderness. I dearly love this movie, but for 90% of people out there I do not recommend it. Red White & Blue is unrelenting and uncompromising as it follows its three main characters on a fateful, tragic, and inevitable collision course. A true cinematic masterpiece.

The Runner ups: 

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Directed by Edgar Wright and written by Edgar Wright and Michael Bacall. Starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and many more.

Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil exes in order to win her heart.

One of the most technically perfect (not to mention gorgeous) movies ever made. There's a magical sense of rhythm and timing here, along with unbelievably creative and entertaining fight scenes. A perfect balance of comedy and off-beat romance, underscored by some of the catchiest garage band music I've ever heard. Scott Pilgrim vs The World is one of the most imminently re-watchable films of all-time. 

Super

Directed and written by James Gunn and starring Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page.

When Frank's wife falls off the wagon and dumps him, he sews a costume, finds a weapon and looks for crimes to stop.

This movie left me asking just one question: Is Super the best superhero movie ever made? Probably. Rainn Wilson shines as a mentally unbalanced man who pulls on some tights and screams "Shut up, crime!" at an unfair and uncaring world. This film is challenging, but ultimately extremely satisfying. Ellen Page, in the role of the over-enthusiastic sidekick, turns in what may be her greatest performance. 

The Losers

Directed by Sylvain White and written by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt.  Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba and many more.

After being betrayed and left for dead by their superiors, a special forces team mounts an offensive against the CIA.

A criminally underappreciated action/heist/revenge/redemption movie with one of the best ensemble casts ever assembled. The Losers features dozens of glorious, joy-filled moments and one of the greatest (and weirdest) villain performances ever by Jason Patrick. 97 minutes of pure fun, and the fact that it wasn't successful enough to generate at least three sequels is an absolute tragedy.

More of the most underrated films of 2010 that are very much worth seeking out: 

 

Michael is one of the hosts of Cinema Smackdown, a movie talk show that features reviews, criticism and deep discussion of films of all types, with special attention paid to the movies that fall between the cracks. It airs on Sundays at 2:00 p.m. EST